Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 30. Day 181. Ducky

It's easy to overlook the great things right in front of your eyes. Most days for three years I walked through the Brisbane Botanic Gardens almost daily as a university student. Later, I worked for six years at the same campus again taking very regular walks through the gardens. But the gardens were just a path from where I was to where I needed to be. I never bothered to stop by the duck pond or sit on the grass or enjoy the sun. It's now a place I love to just hang out with the dog, the camera and anyone else I can convince to come along. Today I was with my friend Alison and my little mate Elliott. We checked out the wildlife and discovered the new playground. Elliott loved every moment (especially the moments which involved the water bubbler). It reminded me again not to take for granted the simple things.

Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29. Day 180. Sticks and stones

As far as little white lies go, I think the one about the hurt-free nature of name calling is about the most harmful. It is so for two reasons. Firstly, it really gives bullies and cowards permission to call people whatever they want, justifying that because no actual sticks and stones were used there could be no "real"hurt. Also, it has the potential to make victims feel weak for speaking up because names are supposedly pain free. It is a saying doubtless said to try and encourage resilience but let's be honest some of those nasty things said in haste have a power to stick and go on hurting long after the physical damage has healed. I got hurt by a stick today. I tripped over it while walking the dog at Kangaroo Point. It probably wasn't the stick's fault as it was just sticking there and I was looking thorough the camera lens and not where I was going.
I can also confirm that there was name calling but  apparently names no matter how rude don't actually hurt as much when you are addressing them to yourself. In fact a few well chosen though not entirely original expletives actually help relieve the pain. So stick that up your @#$%^, Susan

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28. Day 179. Picture perfect

Cut and paste, a simple process involving Control C followed by Control V. Well, normally that's how it's done. Not today. Today cutting and mounting Ekka competition photographs was six hours of hard work. Now it has to be said none of those hours of work were done by me. Turns out I have neither the steady hand nor the patience for this sort of thing. Fortunately my mate Donna and partner in the Ekka photography competition business has plenty of both. So while Donna measured and sliced, I provided moral support, food and a whole pile of increasingly pedantic demands. I also provided a quality control officer in the form of Rumple who was ready to pounce on the work station should any access point to the table be left unguarded. So while Donna had four prints all of the same size, not me. I had eight prints, in three different sizes and did I go with a basic black mount? No, I did not. There were red, blue and grey mounts. And just to overly complicate it, my prints all had white boarders which makes the whole business of lining up and mounting very exacting  Not for me, obviously. But did Donna, complain? No, she did not. She just continued to measure and slice and stick even when I left for an hour or so for mum's taxi business. And I must say she did a stunning job. Even if none of my prints attracts the judges' attention, I'll have eight of my favourite photographs beautifully mounted and ready to hang in a place of my choosing.  Thanks Donna. Love ya work.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 27. Day 178. Life is a Cabaret

Start by admitting
From cradle to tomb
Isn't that long a stay.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Only a Cabaret, old chum,
And I love a Cabaret!
I call him Drama Teen but in actual fact my boy just loves an audience and he has since he was a very small person.  He gravitates to the bright lights in much the same way as insects with all the buzz that goes with it. Tonight the venue was the Enogerra Bowls Club for Fame Theatre Company's annual Cabaret. A live band, a packed house, a microphone, a suit and a solo with backup singers and dancers - that's about as close to perfect as a Saturday night can get for Mr Showbiz. It was a proud mum moment and I must say if I needed any evidence that my boy is all grown up, here it is. Just don't forget who paid for all those lessons when you become rich and famous young man.

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 26. Day 177. Sand flies

 I still have "it" where "it" is defined as the ability to change a particularly unpleasant nappy. Thank-you and no it is nothing like riding a bike.  I spent many hours today helping care for a toddler while his mum was having a medical procedure. We read books and played ball and he ate an impressive amount of food. We would have gone to the park but we couldn't find the house keys to lock up so the sandpit it was - and what a fine choice that turned out to be. Hours of fun to be had sifting and shifting and pouring. And the best bit - I got to hand the little man back before the sand had to be removed from all the places I am sure it ended up hiding and before the clothes needed washing. Winning.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 25. Day 176. Head in the clouds

 I stared out the window today. Really stared with a far away look in my eyes. It was like I was in Year 10 at All Hallows in the seat in the back corner of the classroom that overlooked the Story Bridge. I was a girlie-swat, goodie-two-shoes but on one of those oppressively hot Queensland summer's afternoon after lunch with the dull traffic noise, the teacher's voice would sort of float past entering my ears but making no contact with a synapse. I would be lost in thought some place out that window. But who has time for that sh*t these days? Plus in the intervening decades we decided to air condition everything and we invented the Internet so never again was thinking for yourself a requirement for life. But not on an aircraft. There they have this thing called Flight Mode which is actually code for "sorry, you will now have to think of things that don't involve Google or checking your email". Who knew that was still possible. Turns out that staring into space and just watching the clouds in great glacial patterns is quite good. Because while I was watching the clouds I came up with a couple of interesting ideas that have nothing to do with masses of water droplets suspended above the earth. They won't mean much to anyone but me and hopefully the next bunch of students I encounter. At least I think they will and frankly it doesn't hurt to dream a little.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 24. Day 175. the winner is Syd-en-ey

September 24, 1993 at 4.27am Juan Antonio Samaranch said those words "The winner is Syd-en-ey". Anyone Australian of an appropriate age will remember that and the scenes of the huge party at Circular Quay that followed. I always feel just a little bit of that same excitement every time I'm in Sydney.
I have been to the Harbour City many, many times but the bridge and the Opera House still have that film set feel to me. Times Square in New York does the same only on steroids. Anyway for the past two days Drama Teen and  former school friend George and I have wandered around the city on foot taking in the sights and enjoying the inside of the theatre at night. Last night was Les Miserables at the Capital Theatre and tonight The Umbilical Brothers at Sydney Theatre Company. So first the gut wrenching musical theatre and the following night the light relief. That's balance for you.
Quite the way to spend a few days R&R in Sydney

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23. Day 174. Birds of a Feather

It's probably breaking about 87 clauses in the Manual of Policies and Procedures (MOPP) which governs almost every aspect of my employment to say so but here goes - I don't like my place of work very much. To be clear, it's not the work I have a problem with or the people (staff or students) it's just that my little corner of the campus is not entirely attractive. I get so jealous of those who work on sprawling campuses with huge open spaces overrun with wildlife. We don't have that. Sure the facilities are great but the non human campus dwellers not so much. Today I spent time at Macquarie University in Sydney sitting on the grass while Drama Teen's mate George went to the library to beg forgiveness for some very overdue library books. You can tell a lot about a person by the company she keeps and if that is so clearly I was a bit flighty with a huge appetite - well it was lunch time. The birds really couldn't care less about my presence as long as i was prepared to look and not touch they basically ignored me. I can't say I maintained the same hands off demeanor later in the afternoon at Madame Tassauds. If the MOPP was breached earlier. protocol was smashed when I got up close and personal with Her Royal Waxness. Like I said, inclined to be a bit flighty.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22. Day 173. Flying high

 I used to think that air travel was about the most awesome thing known to man (and woman). I now know it largely sucks. Even the bits that don't suck are pretty tedious unless you get to fly in the pointy end of the aircraft which I never do.
Still flying is the best way to get to exciting places, or boring places that are far away but necessary to visit. So today Drama Teen and I traveled to Sydney to visit school friend George who is now studying a Macquarie University. The boys just get to hang and I get to be in Sydney for a few days. I consider that a win. Foolishly I left the camera in the bag in the overhead locker so today's images come to you via the iPhone. Not bad, all things considered.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21. Day 172. Placid ... normally

As a rule, Rumple is not a making waves kind of dog. He's Mr Smooth Sailing, floating through life, I can't tell you the number of times I've looked about wondering where he is only to find he's sitting under my feet or curled up by my side all quiet, calm and content. He is one of life's turtles. Slow, measured and dependable. Well most of the time. But the fur child like the human offspring has the ability to pick precisely the wrong moment to exhibit the dark side. Any one of the following could, on a bad bad, ruffle the Rumple
1) People talking in the street outside our home
2) Dogs outside the front gate
3) Me visiting Margaret next door without allowing Rumple to accompany me.
Today all three happened at once. I'd taken Margaret out on an errand and Rumple could hear us talking in her drive on our return. As if that wasn't bad enough two dog walkers had stopped for a chat just outside our gate. Rumple decided it was time to let his displeasure known at the infringements to his perceived territory. It was loud and long.
Now this wouldn't have been so bad except for one small thing. One of the dog walkers outside by gate was none other than Dr Cam Day, animal behavioural therapist to the stars. Way to go fur friend. But Rumple is not the type to hold a grudge for long. Before Dr Cam could get out his apppintment book and schedule an emergency session  I returned and picked Rumple up ans he laid on the charm all tail wagging sweetness. Just as well. I think enough members of this household are undergoing therapy without adding the dog to the list.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 20. Day 171. I'm forever blowing bubbles

 No bubble is so iridescent or floats longer than that blown by the successful teacher.
William Osler
Bubbles rock. Bubbles are really nothing but air in a thin skin of not very much. But bubbles fly and float and shimmer. They are little rainbow balls of awesome that excite and captivate no matter how old you are. But big people often forget to blow bubbles. We are too busy and too important to blow bubbles. This is why I love small people. We teach them, hopefully to soar and shine but they teach us too. They teach us to stop and smell the roses or blow the bubbles and see where they might go.

Friday, June 19, 2015

June 19. Day 170. Droning on

Drone. This is a word which in my past life I associated with staff  meetings. Drone (verb) means to speak tediously in a dull monotonous tone. Curiously, based on apian world where the drone does no work but can fertilise the queen, a drone also means a person who does no useful work but lives off others. For some reason this also brings staff meetings to mind. But the word drone, like so many others in the English language, has been hijacked. A drone is one of the small unmanned aerial vehicles which are taking to the air in ever increasing numbers. I rather want one even though I fully accept I would be totally inept at flying one.There was one at South Bank this afternoon and it was turning heads. The images of the sun setting over the city the operator was capturing on his Go Pro were most exciting. It would certainly beat climbing on furniture which is my usual way to get height when photographing. Perhaps I could even use one to remote into staff meetings so I don't actually have to be there ....

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 18. Day 169. Colour my life

I started reading The Book Thief today. Actually I've owned the book for about five years and I've given it a go about once a year in that time. I figure all the people who say it is excellent can not be wrong but each time I've found it hard to get into. So each time I've put it aside for "later". But this time I'm a woman on a mission. Drama Teen, in the fine tradition of school students everywhere, is whinging about the novel set for next term. So I issued a challenge. If you stop the "oh poor me", I'll read it too. Perhaps I'm in a better mood today but I found the opening pages compelling. Especially the bit about colour in the prologue:
"People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it's quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment.
A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors.
Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. Murky darknesses. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them"
I used to not notice colour but I find that waking around with a camera around your neck changes that. You do notice light and shade. Colour and shadow. light and dark, the different tones and how they change through the day. You look at things through fresh eyes, through the eyes of a toddler. I have got another dose of baby love with another visit to my friend Alison and baby Elliott home from Singapore for the summer holidays. We went for a short walk and Elliott's joy at the simple was a delight. He was excited by a street light and a dog and a bird and the stars and moon. He was seeking the things the big people take for granted. He was seeing the colours.Reminder to self. Open your eyes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 17. Day 168. Under water

 This is meant to be the dry season. Brisbane, what do you call this then? This weather is seriously shitty. It is, however, pretty much a reflection of how life is right now. Soggy. That feeling of drowning. Most of the time I do try to do the duck thing. All placid above above the waterline and paddling like mad underneath. But, it's nowhere near as unflappable at the moment. The feathers are ruffled and there's no hiding it. But with just one day of exam stress in the hen house I'm hoping at least one of the stresses disappears and we can be on more smooth water.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 16. Day 167. Slept like a baby

 There are two types of people in this world. Those who like the nap and those who do not. There are no prizes for guessing which camp I belong in. I love the nap like some people love a football team - with a fanatical devotion that you were born to and you will take to your grave. If a football fan is buried in the team's jersey I should be buried in my PJs. I admit that you do wake up from the afternoon nap in a sort of dozy, groggy state. I admit the bed hair thing is happening. But look at the three stages of emerging from the afternoon sleep as modeled by the most delicious baby Elliott this afternoon. First he is snugly, then cuddly and finally happily hungry. Now I'm not saying anyone would be leaping to give me a big hug when I wake up from a nap but I am saying I am all together a much nicer person when well rested. It might take a brief period to emerge from the sleep stupor but when I do I carry an alertness into the evening. You should always let sleeping dogs lie. The same advice goes for Susan. Her bite is probably worse than her bark.

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 15. Day 165. Tailor-made

Friends with teenage girls tend to roll their eyes and laugh when I mention the senior formal. The strong inference is pretty much "you have no idea".  Those of us with offspring with both X and Y chromosomes have it easy, or so the theory goes. Go to formal hire place, select from a row of almost identical black tuxes. Pay a relatively small hire fee. Leave. This is the standard approach. But the standard 17-year-old male has not been wearing suits since age 5. The high school senior probably doesn't have four or five suits in the wardrobe. Mine does. Mine does not believe an off the rack suit will do the job. Enter Feridun Avar. Feridun operates a custom tailor business just around the corner from our place and we know him pretty well. Today we went to discuss THE SUIT. I had no idea how many questions that discussion would entail. Button types, collar types, cuff, sleeves, pleats, fabric, lining. waist height, waistcoat styles and plenty more that I can't even remember. That was before we even got to discuss the colour or do the measurements. That was before the discussion turned to $$$$$. So mothers of girls, it is not that easy but I do have one thing on my side. I have a young man who knows his suits and has no problem communicating that. Let's just say you will see him coming.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14. Day 165. Going up

 On the map it was marked as "Heartbreak Hill". We call it the streets where we live. Today thousands of Brisbane residents took part in the annual City2South, a nice little 14 plus kilometre run culminating in a climb up Highgate "heartbreak" Hill pretty much right outside my door. While there was also a shorter five kilometre event for families it also featured the hill.
I confess no-one in my family did actually run the race but we did walk up and down our section of the hill a number of times. This allowed us to
1) cheer on the competitors
2) enjoy the free music and
3) get out beyond the race course. It surprised me how many residents arrived at the road blocks unable to drive anywhere because they had failed to see either the notices in the letterbox nor the giant posters that have been on the route for weeks.  Some took it well. Others not so much. The competitors were, however, taking the event in very good spirits despite (or perhaps because of) the light rain that just kept coming. There were a few kids hitching lifts on Mum or Dad's shoulders or swinging their way up the hill but mostly there was just the sounds of reassuring voices and pounding feet. The whingers were still home in bed (or at the road blocks having a discussion with the traffic control people). As is the way with these charity events, they may be a nightmare to organise and cause a degree of disruption to residents but the rewards are huge - both for the charities who benefit and the people who take part.